Never be a Bystander: Raising Children in the Age of Cyber Bullying

The first time it happened we were at the playground. Noah was a new five-year-old and just starting to venture off away from me to meet other children. He was so excited to play with the big kids. I don’t even remember how it started or what the big kid said, but it ended with Noah running to me, tears streaming down his face. After the first incident, the same big kid seemed to single out Noah any chance he could get, regardless of my presence. At the tender age of five, my son had his first run-in with a bully.

Playground politics took over, and I soon discovered that the big kid bully was actually the victim of bullying at school. I also knew that he was the oldest of three kids, with a mama who was worn out from her husband’s long deployment. This wasn’t a bad big kid… this was a big kid who felt bullied by life, and so he took those feelings out on someone younger.

Noah and I talked about how some people make decisions that hurt others, and we don’t have to listen to them or believe them or understand them. What we can do is learn from them and know that we don’t ever want to have words or actions that would make someone else feel bad, the way he did that afternoon at the playground.

Case closed! Bully defeated! My son’s self-esteem is still intact! This will be the last time we have to worry about bullying, right?

As much as I would like to keep my rose-colored glasses firmly perched on my nose, I know the reality of the world we live in today. If kids start acting out by bullying at six years old, what will life look like when they are 10? And when they are teenagers? With the ease of access to technology and social media, bullying is no longer harsh words hollered while swinging on the monkey bars. Cyber bullying is changing the landscape in which we are raising our children.


Submit the Documentary addresses the issue of cyber bulling and sexting through personal stories, numerous experts and sobering statistics. I took off my rose-colored glasses and watched the film—and I am so grateful that I did. While my children are years away from having a social media account of their own, it is never too early to teach the fundamental lesson from Submit the Documentary; never be a bystander.

The overwhelming reality is that our children and youth do have countless opportunities to hurt one another via the Internet. Far too often, these virtual attacks lead to suicide. Can parents realistically monitor all their online activity? Should schools shoulder the burden? What laws are out there to protect our children, and are they effective?


Teaching our children to stand up for those who are being bullied, wheatear on the playground or a newsfeed, seems like a good place to start. Never be a bystander. When you see someone doing wrong, call them out. A simple “That’s not cool” can let the victim know that they are not alone. Bonus: the experts say that when others speak out for a victim, the bully almost never responds. It ends.


Parents, if you want to learn more about cyber bullying yourself, go to this website. There are links to helpful resources with facts and tips on how to deal with cyber bullying. Watch the video, and share with your own children if you feel they are old enough. There is even a free screening guide for educators; wouldn’t it be wonderful if every middle and high school in Duval, Clay and St Johns County hosted a viewing of this powerful documentary? We can’t change the world that we are raising our children in; technology will always be there. But we can be aware of it and teach our children now how to respond should they ever be on the receiving end of a cyber bully.

Thank you Submit the Documentary for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Bryna is a stay at home mom who recently moved to Riverside in Jacksonville, Florida after living in Japan for six years. From figuring out how to make a foreign country 'home' to figuring out how the heck her six year old son can get pee BEHIND the toilet, Bryna approaches life with humor and open-mindedness. A huge advocate for Waldorf education and an overall gentle approach to parenting, Bryna enjoys exploring the world with her two children through eyes of wonder and excitement. She loves to write and writes about what she loves; family, traditions, food, wine, and how to find happy in everything.


  1. Hi Bryna, This is Ben Becker from Action News. I am looking to do a story about cyberbullying and read your blog with great interest. We are trying to bring attention to the issue. Please let me know if you and your son are interested in doing an interview. My email is [email protected] and number is 904-607-6789. Thank you,


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